In our travels in search of the ancient Buddha statues of Tamil Nadu, we came across many Buddha and Bodhisattva statues from the 1st – 16th Century CE timeframe. As of today, though Tamilians are not so much aware of the history of Buddhism in the Tamil land, and though many of them consider Buddhism to be a foreign system belonging to Sri Lanka, the fact is the other way around. From almost every district of Tamil Nadu, ancient Buddha statues have been discovered. Tamil Nadu had wide-spread presence of all forms of Buddhism including Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Many great Buddhist scholars and Yogis were also from there including Bodhidharma, Dignaga, Buddhaghosha, Dhammapala, Dharmakirthi, Chandrakirthi and Dharmapala. According to Tibetan master Taranatha, Guru Padmasambhava stayed in Tamil Nadu for many years and taught Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism there. There are also historical accounts of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka being revived in the 13th Century by inviting monks from Tamil Nadu.
Soon to come
- Ancient Buddha Statues of South Tamil Nadu